Organized Home

Fall Cleaning Chore Checklist

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on September 10, 2016

It's Autumn. Pumpkins glow in golden fields. Shorter days, crisp mornings signal winter's approach.

Can the holidays be far behind?

Use Autumn's brisk and breezy days to conquer deep-cleaning chores for a clean and comfortable winter home, and to wrap up summer's outdoor lifestyle.

Our Fall Cleaning Chore Checklist will help you prepare home and hearth for the coming of winter:

Printables:  calendar_checklist_fall_winter.pdf calendar_checklist_spring_summer.pdf

Ready for Christmas? Try A Holiday Organizing Plan!

Labor Day weekend ahead! School bells are ringing, football fills the airwaves and September looms. Will the holidays be far behind?

Sure, you're dreaming of the perfect Christmas--then you open your eyes to reality. Looking around the house, it's hard to imagine how to cut the clutter, manage fall cleaning and prepare for Christmas all at once.

How will you bring the current state of domestic chaos into holiday readiness: clean, organized, prepared? You need a holiday organizing plan!

Back-to-School Countdown Day 14: Get Organized for Homeschool

In my years as worker, mother and home manager, I have experienced a full range of life’s little organizational challenges. I have run a business from a home shared with two tiny children and moved cross-country (and back). I've merged two cluttered households into one small city apartment, and lived for many happy years with a card-carrying packrat husband.

The challenge of home schooling a child beat them all hands-down, organizationally speaking.

Back-to-School Countdown Day 13: Teaching Kids The Planner Habit

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 13, 2016

Teachers, parents and homeschool families know that training kids to the planner habit makes for successful students.

School districts throughout the USA issue planners to pupils and integrate planner use into the school day. Homeschool families use planners to track and organize lessons, chores and activities, while tech-savvy teens rely on smartphone calendar and to-do apps to organize their work.

A student planner is only a tool. How do you teach a child to use one? Try these tips to teach kids the planner habit.

Back-to-School Countdown Day 12: Tips to Help With Homework

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 12, 2016

The start of a new school year means fresh supplies and new outfits ... and their less-welcome cousin, homework. How will you handle daily homework sessions in your organized home?

To stave off homework battles, it pays to make a plan. Creating a homework routine undercuts foot-dragging, while setting up a homework station keeps distractions to a minimum. Having a plan for homework accountability encourages student responsibility--and sees to it that homework gets done on time.

Ready to plan for homework? Try these tips to get it done swiftly, done right during the coming school year.

Back-to-School Countdown Day 11: Win the Wardrobe Wars

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 11, 2016

What to wear? For many families, this simple question is a daily flash-point for conflict on school mornings.

A budding fashionista throws a tantrum if a given outfit doesn't meet her standards, while another child insists on wearing one favorite shirt day after day--laundered or not. Younger children resist getting dressed at all, delaying the whole family's departure--and everyone's mood descends to the basement before the day has even begun.

Win the wardrobe wars! Try these ideas to get 'em up, dressed and off to school on time.

Back-to-School Countdown Day 10: Gear Up for School Lunches

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 10, 2016

Will you add "pack school lunches" to your to-do list when school starts? Time to get organized!

School-day mornings veer to frazzled in a heartbeat, and never more so than when trying to pack lunches while locating laundry, overseeing homework and calling children to breakfast.

Give yourself a break, and take time now to prepare for the school lunch routine. With nine months of lunch duty ahead, planning school lunch menus will make it easy to pack the sacks each day!

Printables:  seasonal_back_to_school_lunch_planner.pdf

Back-to-School Countdown Day 9: Create A Family Command Center

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 9, 2016

Each day in your household, the questions fly. What time is soccer practice? Do we need to buy milk? Is the family free to attend a barbecue this weekend?

Even in an age of smartphones, each household needs a one-stop location to find the answers: a family command center.

Information central for busy families, a family command center cuts school-day stress by creating a single location to find calendars, information and messages needed by the family each day.

Today in the Back-to-School Countdown, we'll set up--or spiff up!--a family command center to keep life running smoothly.

Tame Morning Madness with a Family Launch Pad

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 8, 2016

Morning Madness! Only the pre-dinner "Arsenic Hour" comes close in the "Calgon, take me away!" category.

Bathroom fights, soggy cereal, and the ever-present, "Mommy! I can't find my . . . !"

Getting the family out the door in the morning can make any parent want to pull the bedclothes up and hide.

One small concept can go a long way to taming the morning beast: the family Launch Pad. Just as a spaceship must have a dedicated structure to support liftoff, so family members need a Launch Pad to stabilize them as they blast out the door.

Back-to-School Countdown Day 8: Set Up A Family Launch Pad

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 8, 2016

It's not just our family that exits the door each morning during the school, it's our stuff! Can you find what you need to get the children off to school on time each day?

Briefcases and backpacks, library books and lunch sacks travel with us in and out of the house each day. Arriving home, these possessions scatter to the winds; in the morning, precious time is wasted rounding them up for another day's use.

If you're playing too many games of "Where's the permission slip?", it's time to consider taming the chaos with a family launch pad.

Back-to-School Countdown Day 7: Crafting School-Day Routines

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 7, 2016

Kindergarten teachers know a powerful organizing principle: reliable routines are the secret to a successful school day.

Well-crafted classroom routines give pupils a sense of security--and ensure that the day moves smoothly through each planned activity.

Put that organizing secret to work in your organized home!

Today in the Back-to-School Countdown, it's time to craft morning, after-school and evening routines for the school year.

8 Great Tips To Organize Kids' Rooms

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 6, 2016

It's the battle cry of millions of parents: "Clean your room!" Will it ring out in your house today?

Seasonal events like birthdays, the holidays or a new school year bring fresh motivation to the drive to get kids organized--and nowhere is the battleground more intense than in the children's bedrooms.

How do you help your child organize and clean up life in the bedroom?

Try these eight easy organization strategies to calm clutter and bring order to kids' rooms.

Back-to-School Countdown Day 6: Organize Kids' Rooms for Back-to-School

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 6, 2016

The start of school puts new demands on children's bedrooms. Can the kids find clothing during the morning rush? Where will they do their homework?

To kick off a new school year from an organized home, it's time to declutter, deep-clean and organize children's rooms.

Working with your child, tackle kids' rooms now for school-day success. Remove clutter, organize toys and clothing, and bring a fresh new feeling to your children's private space.

Ready to start? Get inspired to create an organized, supportive space for your little learner:

8 Great Tips to Organize Kids' Rooms

Back-To-School Countdown Day 5: 10 Money-Saving Tips for School Clothes

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 5, 2016

Gearing up for a new school year? Don't get sticker shock when shopping for school clothes!

The cost of clothing the children for a new school year can be staggering. Even clothing in good repair may no longer fit a growing youngster after the summer holiday. If you've got a budding fashionista on your hands, your child's list of must-have items can swell out of all reality.

How to send them back to school in style ... and on budget? Try these ten ideas for saving money on school clothes.

Printables:  seasonal_back_to_school_clothing_checklist.pdf

Back-to-School Countdown Day 4: Prepare For School Paperwork

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 4, 2016

Back-to-school on the horizon? Here comes the paperwork!

Today in the Organized Home Back-to-School Countdown, we're preparing for the paper flood ahead.

Each school day, children's backpacks grow paperwork like leaves on trees. Permission slips and lunch menus. Sports rosters and progress reports.

Keep them organized by setting up a simple filing system to track and hold school paperwork.

Back-to-School Countdown Day 3: Organize Information and Contacts

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 3, 2016

The start of school brings a brisk new tempo to the household, sweeping away the sweet leisure of summer--and the first day of school can bring an unwelcome splash of busy reality.

Will you be ready? Get organized now to sail into school with ease!

On Day 3 of the Back-to-School Countdown, we focus on information, contacts and appointments. It's time to gather paperwork, start a school-year contacts list, and schedule any needed appointments in good time for the first day of school.

Printables:  seasonal_back_to-school_information.pdf

Do It Now! Tips To Get Ready For Back-To-School

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 2, 2016

Move over, summer--a new school year is coming!

With the start of school, families face new organization challenges.

School bells ring--and so do early-morning alarm clocks.

Paper piles swell as hand-outs and homework stream into the house.

Shorter autumn days bring a hectic round of sports, activities and events, and calendars fill with cryptic notes. Can the holidays be far behind?

Get organized now for the best school year ever! Use these ideas to prepare your home and family for the busy days ahead.

Printables:  seasonal_back_to_school_checklist.pdf seasonal_back_to_school_clothing_checklist.pdf seasonal_back_to_school_lunch_planner.pdf seasonal_back_to-school_information.pdf

Back-to-School Countdown Day 2: Build a Budget for Back-to-School

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 2, 2016

Getting ready for back-to-school with the Organized Home Back-to-School Countdown? It's Day 2 ... and time to hang on to your wallet!

No doubt about it, outfitting the family for a new school year can be a pricey enterprise. Shoes, clothes and school supplies are only the beginning of the financial outlay. Today's parents must add fees imposed by cash-strapped school districts, shared hygiene supplies and deposits for band instruments. Sports and extracurricular activities impose their own drain on family funds ... and behind it all, the children have a long list of must-have items for the first day of school.

How to hold the line on seasonal spending? Build a back-to-school budget to stay on top of school expenses ... and save.

Printables:  seasonal_back_to_school_budget.pdf

Back-to-School Countdown Day 1: Print the Ultimate Back-to-School Checklist

Posted by Cynthia Ewer on August 1, 2016

Welcome to Day 1 of the Organized Home Back-to-School Countdown!

In spite of August's long and lazy summer days, a new school year is on the horizon. To be ready for the first day of school, there are lists to make and appointments to keep, paperwork to be processed and shopping to be done.

Track them all with this ultimate back-to-school checklist! Free for the printing, it'll help you tick off back-to-school tasks and get organized for a new school year.

Printables:  seasonal_back_to_school_checklist.pdf

Cash In: Start Now to Save Money for Christmas

Think Christmas ... when it's summertime? Sure--if you want to be prepared for a stress-free holiday season.

Starting holiday planning now makes sense ... and cents! Saving ahead for holiday expenses spreads the financial demands of the Christmas season over several months--and being prepared with a cash budget means you'll be less tempted to put holiday spending on credit cards.

Sister site Organized Christmas has some clever ways to start now to save money for a debt-free Christmas celebration:

Clever checkbook management can lead to a Christmas stash. When paying bills each month, "round down" the bank balance to the next even amount--say, from $967 to $900--by writing a dummy check for $67 and deducting it from the register. Don't cash it, but hold it for Christmas. Over a few months, those "round it down" amounts will add up to holiday funds.

Cash In! Do-It-Now Ways To Save Money For Christmas

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